Minimalissimo


Celebrated minimalist architect John Pawson has created an ethereal physical space for London-based label and designer Christopher Kane‘s very first boutique on Mount Street. Kane’s designs in no way have a minimalist language, with bright colors and geometric patterns in the current season. Yet Pawson’s space is a match made in contrast heaven with the use of off-white surfaces, mirrored walls and glass vitrines and display shelves. Accessories are displayed on fluorescent-coloured plates that rest on glass shelves in the wall as a small subtle hint to Kane’s effervescent designs. Using highly polished stainless-steel mirroring on the rail down the staircase that connects womenswear on the ground floor to the menswear on the lower floor, the descent is illuminated by a large cylindrical chandelier that emphasizes the volume of this atrium. The rail sits recessed into the wall, a clever architectural detail of Pawson’s, so clothes can be hung on display along the shape of the rail. Having designed only a small number of retail spaces, Calvin Klein Collections Store in New York being one of them, John Pawson’s retail portfolio can look forward to the expansion of more Christopher Kane’s stores, since establishing the brand’s spatial identity in this beautiful, minimalist architecture.


A collaboration between London-based photographer Bruno Drummond and set designer Hattie Newman, Paper Mountains, recycles and decontextualizes the intricate paper sculptures created by Hattie for a project both had previously worked on, suddenly giving them new life. Generally speaking sets for photoshoots tend to be made as one offs — once the shoot is over the set might be stored, recycled or disposed of; an enormous amount of work goes into producing the sets yet the work of the designer might end up hidden from view. After realising how some of the elements of the set would make a great project in their own right, they set to create a series of formal studies, finding a fresh set of characteristics in the pieces. Some of the technical work that would normally be hidden, like the joining flaps of two paper mountains, were made visible. In some cases the pieces have been placed without reference to how they might stand in reality. For Drummond, the objects became suggestive of entirely different things than what they originally meant — beached ships or sea-creatures left stranded at the high tide mark.


The Italian furniture company, Kristalia, fast becoming a Minimalissimo favourite, recently introduced to us the beautiful OXO family of chairs, designed by Xavier Lust, which will be on display at Milan Design Week later this month. Oxo is the outcome of both ongoing research by Kristalia to find new production technologies and Xavier Lust’s in-depth knowledge of aluminium. In this design project, the designer highlights the hallmarks that have made him famous: curves created by his innovative process of bending metal surfaces. A long time admirer of Lust’s work, this is Kristalia first collaboration with the designer, which has resulted in an exquisite and minimalistic collection of outdoor stackable chairs where the beauty lies in the details, such as the twist that is seen on the base, the torsion of the aluminium tube. Wonderful.


Light in Water is a remarkably beautiful installation developed by Parisian DGT architects, initially four years ago during Milan Design Week, but has now been relaunched in the Éléphant Paname Art and Dance Centre, located in Paris, for its opening event of 2015. Sixteen rings of slotted tubes fitted to the ceiling, with each hole providing sixty drops of water per second falling due to gravity, for a total amount of three tons of water continually recirculating in the space. This creates an immersive and sensitive experience using two different tones of light. The architects tell us: Light and water are essences of everything; without any light and water, there is no evolution in life for all. Light in Water is part of the exhibition Lumieres — The Play of Brilliants and will be exhibited until 31 May.


This unassuming family home in Finland is designed by OOPEAA, or Office for Peripheral Architecture. OOPEAA strives for an architecture that finds its inspiration in the state of being in-between – between urban and rural, but always in relationship to both; between a deep respect for tradition and an appreciation of the contemporary. House Riihi is the perfect example of OOPEAA’s mission. House Riihi is reminiscent of a traditional Finnish cottage, stationed alone in an often snowy field in the small village of Alajärvi. The home is comprised of three buildings: the main house, a garage, and a lofted studio. The pale wood structure sits low to the ground and is arranged around an inner garden. This arrangement is inspired by Finnish farms, where cottages were positioned around a central courtyard. With this composition, the garden is protected from the harsh climate and becomes a peaceful refuge all year long. The interior is clad from floor to ceiling in natural and white-painted spruce. The light colors allow House Riihi to feel airy and bright, as well as warm and cozy. Minimal furnishings, some matching the spruce of the walls, create an atmosphere of openness where the home’s architecture can really shine. House Riihi is...


Mifune Design Studio’s Y-Hangers piece sits as a light-weight functional sculpture. The single-framed metal arm bends to create multiple hanging locations vertically. The hangers themselves are also designed, specifically, for loading the coat rack with numerous items, seamlessly, and consistently. And when not in use, the hangers sit flat, aligned with the metal, painted base. The overall result is one of clear thin lines that quietly add to a space, without dominating it. Which is beautiful. Mifune is headed by Yasutoshi Mifune, who was born in Tattori and now resides in Osaka where the studio is located. He acquired knowledge about design through self-education while working at a few architectural design offices and interior design companies. Following this, he set up his own studio that encompasses design that is true to Japanese design with regard to beauty and spirituality. Photography courtesy of Mifune Design Studio.


Brasília is known far and wide for its unique urban planning by Lúcio Costa and, unsurprisingly, modernist architecture that comes along with it by Oscar Niemeyer. Taking into account the particularities of Niemeyer’s buildings, such as explicit concrete structures, geometric sharp angles, surprising curves and the sheer large scale and amplitude of each creation. The often-considered futuristic designs are no strangers to coffee table photography books, so it’s refreshing to see a masterful take of Brasília’s iconic buildings with a minimalist and night-time twist. Norway-based photographer Øystein Aspelund visited the modern capital of Brazil and managed to capture a fascinating collection of unlikely portraits of famous buildings with great expertise in shadow play; whilst making very clear how grand the scale is, towering over the lone human figures. The variety and eclecticism of textures and forms is exquisite, all the while achieving a clear minimalist visual composition. Øystein showcases Brasília’s modernism with a night shade that covers the surrounding areas to expose the expressive and very authentic elements from each building. This is a great introduction for newcomers and an unusual take for locals and enthusiasts to behold. To simplify and reduce successfully is not an easy task at all...


It is only the second collection of Warsaw based fashion brand THISISNON, but an international audience for their designs is already well established. The new summer collection, RAW SILK consolidates THISISNON’s concept of presenting only a few essential pieces — in this case six pieces made of 100% silk — to encourage respect for the world’s resources and professional craftsmanship. The collection’s use of raw, undyed fabric reveals the natural structure of silk, while the chosen shade of white evokes the rawness of sandstone and clay. The immaculate way THISISNON translates the above aspiration into a self-contained style, imagery and communication is simply captivating. Their pieces are the perfect example of high-end garments not conflicting with everyday life, but reminding their wearer of why certain materials — like merino wool or silk — became so loved in the first place. Wearing anything less suddenly seems quite pointless.


Japanese design firm Nendo is not only brilliant at creating beautiful products in any medium, but they are also good at getting featured on Minimalissimo. As a collaboration with Italian furniture maker Glas Italia, Nendo has created a series of three frosted glass tables for this year’s furniture fair in Milan. Although the description might sound simple, the overall aesthetic is much more complex due to the gradient hues of these tables’ edges. During the process of making these sculptural objects, bright strips of colors were applied onto the outer rims of each frosted panel, giving a visuality of neon tubes running along the seams of the cubes. Nendo lets us know: What is more, the reverse side of the frosted glass was printed with a pattern to make it look as though the same colors were blurred on the glass surface. That explains the name Soft. The dialogue between the pattern and the edge’s gradient is cleverly tailored to illusorily imply that these tables are glowing softly from the inside. One of the things that I absolutely love about Nendo is their design philosophy which challenges the way that we understand materials. By minimally designing and tweaking small elements...


The Cozy House, located in a populated residential area of Japan’s Shiga prefecture is an interesting and strategic architectural project developed by Japanese architect Kouichi Kimura, founder of local firm FORM. This beautiful grey house is built on one of the small sites crowded with houses and surrounded by narrow roads. With these conditions, the architect designed a compact house that includes enriched inner spaces with strategically placed windows to create privacy for residents. A great solution. In small houses I like to see custom furniture that delimits and emphasises the space throughout. In Cozy House, furniture is integrated into the architecture, including a padded bench set into the back of the balustrade. A long concrete bench runs along the front of the dark wooden wall, providing a storage area. These solutions make the project very elegant and functional. The architect explains: The comfortableness, which is produced by the small space and would hardly be realised by a broad space, was my major fascination of this house. A small and intimate house with a beautiful simplicity. Photography courtesy of Kimikazu Tomizawa.


This Nendo designed chocolate shop is located in a small storefront plot in Tokyo’s Ginza District. The illustrious Nendo created this shop for the Belgian chocolatiers BbyB, who describe their treats as “haute couture chocolate.” It is only fitting that the BbyB Ginza store be held to the same high standard as the products sold in it. The long and narrow shop is cut in half by a central glass case equipped with rows of drawers to hold the chocolate bars. This glass case lets the colorful packaging of BbyB’s product to take center stage. Nendo designed each flavor to be displayed in its own glass case, with the drawers of the product installed directly behind. This warrants the user to browse the sweets at ease, opening each drawer in search of the perfect treat. The chocolate bar design, printed in white, is displayed on the walls behind the glass case. White marble floor tiles and recessed lighting allow the physicality of the store to melt away, so the customer is only focused on the delicious chocolates in front of them. A cafe is located in the back of the shop and follows a similar design as the front. The glass display case becomes...


Ando Corporation’s Rooms project is a submerged Japanese house set into hillside, peaking out over the ocean. This minimalist series of volumes that all seem to play cooperatively together in the landscape, are a stark and beautiful contrast to the coastal terrain. At nearing 290 sqm, Rooms is a modest nod to the Japanese lifestyle; discreet, contained and respectful. Each volume of white plaster seems to come together seamlessly through a series of walkways and terraces, to create this unassuming sanctuary, nestled in the sloping elevation. The site’s location is optimally primed to maximize on the incredible Pacific Oceanic aspect. Fenestration is purposely restrained to not be full-height, to frame views and to leave some of the unknown, unknown. Set in Wakayama, Japan the clean white plastered forms contrast the natural site, while playful formal landscape geometry engages in nuances and details throughout. Rooms is the epitome of what residential dwellings should aspire to be, a sanctuary; a closing of the door to the chaos, and an opening to the beyond (in this case, the limitlessness of the ocean beyond). Ando Corporation has created an incredible example of reflective architecture, celebrating minimalism. Photography courtesy of Kimikazu Tomizawa.